Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy Isotopic Analysis

Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is a possible rapid, non-contact method for detecting and quantitatively analyzing various isotopes, including hydrogen critical to various disciplines (e.g., nuclear energy, hydrogen storage). With no sample preparation requirement, a relatively simple experimental set-up, and the ability to detect all elements in the periodic table in a matter of seconds, the LIBS technique can be employed for the measurement of hydrogen isotopes in virtually any target of interest (gas, liquid, or solid).

However, quantifying hydrogen concentration and its isotopes is challenging via laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy due to spectral line broadening and hydrogen contamination issues.

Researchers investigate the effects of varying plasma generation conditions (nanosecond versus femtosecond laser ablation) and ambient environments (argon versus helium gas) on spectral features generated from Zircaloy-4 targets with varying hydrogen isotopic compositions. They employed time-resolved 2D spectral imaging to detail the spatial distribution of species throughout plasma evolution. The results highlight that hydrogen and deuterium isotopic shifts can be measured with a minimal spectral broadening in a ∼ 10 Torr helium gas environment using ultrafast laser-produced plasmas.

LIBS rapidly analyzed H isotopes in Zircaloy-4 target materials with varying isotopic compositions. In particular, the effect of plasma generation conditions (ns versus fs LA) and ambient gas chemistry (Ar versus He) was investigated. To detail the spatial and temporal behavior of species within Zircaloy-4 plasmas, time-resolved 2D spectral images were collected.

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